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Struggle for fishing right within the Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharastra, India

Struggle for the recognition of fishing rights inside the reservoir of Pench Tiger Reserve, and protest against the illegal relocation plan.


The Pench tiger Reserve shares its border between the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, each side managed by its respective states. The Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra is located in the nagpur district and is spread over a total area of 741.22 sq km. including a core area of 430. 12 sq km.  

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Struggle for fishing right within the Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharastra, India
State or province:Maharastra/ Madhya Pradesh
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Land
Ecosystem Services
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Pench tiger reserve is one of the major Protected Areas of Satpura-Maikal ranges of the Central Highlands, which is among the most important tiger habitats of the world. Pench Tiger is among the sites notified as important bird areas of India. This is one of the highest herbivores densities in India.

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Project area:74,122
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:5,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2002
Relevant government actors:National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
Maharastra Forest Department
Madhya Pradesh Forest Department
International and Finance InstitutionsWildlife Conservation Society (WCS) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:All Indian Forum of Forest Movements (AIFFM)
Jan Van Andolan
Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Kol Samaj
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Ask for implementation of the Forest Rights Act and the recognition of fishing rights and community rights as per law. Development of an inclusive model of conservation.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The local community does not have their legal forest rights recognized and no environmental justice has been given to them. Although the Supreme Court, in response to a petition following the relocation, had ordered relocation benefits for the village, the administration has not responded to the order yet.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006
[click to view]

Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA), Amendment 2006
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[6]Report, 2002. 'Economics of Protected Area: A Case Study of Pench National Park'. Author: Anjali Kulkarni and V M Vaidya, Nagpur University, Nagpur
[click to view]

[11] Biodiversity and the Precautionary Principle: Risk Uncertainty and Practice. Author: Cooney and Dickson, 2005
[click to view]

[1] Down To Earth. '17 fishers injured in firing by forest guards'. January, 2012. Author: Aparna Pallavi
[click to view]

[2] Down To Earth "Tribal fishers to move court after one of them is killed by forest staff in Pench National Park", July 2012. Author: Aparna Pallavi
[click to view]

[4] Times of India, 'Move to Shift Village in pench opposed', July 19, 2012. Author: Vijay Pinjarkar
[click to view]

[5] Times of India, 'Ramtek MLA, finally oppose fishing rights in Pench', Aug.26, 2017. Author: Vijay Pinjarkar
[click to view]

[7]Times of India, 'Arms in Police custody, Pench tiger protectors left thoothless' , April 25, 2016. Author: Vijay Pinjarkar
[click to view]

[10] MH: Conflict over Kanha Pench tiger corridor and expansion of NH7
[click to view]

[11] Times of India, 'SDO grants fringe villagers fishing rights inside Pench', March 27, 2017. Author: Vijay Pinjarkar
[click to view]

[12] Times of India 'Collector panel rejects fishing rights in Pench', July 17, 2017, Author: Vijay Pinjarkar
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Eleonora Fanari, ICTA (UAB), [email protected], Akshay Chettry, Kalpavriksh
Last update24/05/2019
Conflict ID:4169
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